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Plastic Pledge Signatories Divert 28,500 Tonnes of Plastic from Ireland!

We announced this morning that Plastic Pledge Signatories have successfully removed or replaced 28,500 tonnes of plastic packaging from the Irish market since 2018. 

The announcement was made at the launch of our fifth annual Plastic Pledge Report this morning. The report highlights the achievements of its 146 Plastic Pledge Signatories and their impactful efforts to reduce and remove plastic packaging from their organisation. In 2022, Plastic Pledge Signatories achieved an average of 52% recycled content in their packaging, with select products attaining an impressive 100% recycled plastic content.

The report also showcases alterations made by signatories to their packaging, either by reducing or substituting plastic materials. Often, these changes are not recognised or noticed by the public but have collectively contributed to the removal or replacement of a remarkable 28,500 tonnes of plastic since 2018. The dedicated individuals and organisations behind the changes are Ireland's Change Makers. 

As part of committing to our Plastic Pledge, Signatories of the Plastic Pledge gain access to a Plastic Challenge Working Group, where collaborative efforts are made to identify significant packaging challenges and formulate solutions. In 2023, the Working Group identified two key objectives for all Repak Members: increasing reusable packaging for B2B Secondary and Transport Packaging, and improving recycled content rates for packaging in Ireland. 

This Working Group assisted in the implementation of mandatory segregation and incentivised charging for commercial waste, and the reintroduction of soft plastics into the recycling bin. This marks a significant advancement in Ireland’s national recycling policy and encourage wider recognition of our Plastic Pledge across all Repak Members.Overall, our Members placed 140,000 tonnes of plastic packaging on the market in 2022, of which 104,000 (74%) was recycled – an 8.3% increase on 2021. 

Speaking at the launch of the 2022 Plastic Pledge Report, Minister of State at the Department of Public Expenditure, National Development Plan Delivery and Reform and at the Department of Environment, Climate and Communications, Ossian Smyth TD, said: “Repak and its Plastic Pledge Signatories are leading the way in reducing and removing plastic packaging. The substantial reduction of over 28,500 tonnes of plastic packaging achieved by Plastic Pledge Signatories since 2018 marks a significant milestone in collective efforts. I am encouraged by the progress made thus far and look forward to further collaborations with Repak and its Plastic Pledge Signatories as we strive to meet EU circular economy targets.”

CEO of Repak, Séamus Clancy, added: “2022 saw further progress made by our Plastic Pledge Signatories to deliver on the objectives set out in Repak’s Plastic Packaging Recycling Strategy 2018-2030. They successfully eliminated 28,500 tonnes of avoidable plastic waste from the estimated 322,000 tonnes of total plastic packaging placed on  the Irish market. The exponential growth in the number of businesses joining the Repak Members’ Plastic Pledge, now totalling 146, attests to the momentum in addressing avoidable plastic packaging waste, enhancing recyclability, and incorporating recycled content. Each signatory continues to play a pivotal role in ensuring that Ireland strives to meet stringent EU Circular Economy targets. 

Despite the achievements made by Repak Members and Plastic Pledge Signatories, it is imperative to acknowledge that attaining the 2025 plastic packaging recycling targets remains a formidable challenge. Forecasts indicate that Ireland will miss  it’s national plastic target. If all organisations in Ireland focused on the five objectives set out in the Plastic Pledge and followed in the footsteps of Plastic Pledge Signatories, our Change Makers, Ireland would make significant progress to meet these targets.
We look forward to continuing to work with Plastic Pledge Signatories and stakeholders to ensure further changes are implemented to remove and reduce plastic packaging from the supply chain. We also call on more organisations to sign up to the Plastic Pledge and join the movement towards a circular economy.”

Our Change Makers: The change you can’t see

In this year's report, we not only celebrates the achievements of its Plastic Pledge Signatories but also spotlights five key ‘Change Makers’ leading the way in reducing and removing plastic packaging from their supply chains and setting the standard.

These success stories include:

  1. Aldi swapped its peanut butter jars from plastic to glass, saving 13 tonnes of plastic per annum and contributing to an 18% plastic reduction of own label products
  2. Coca-Cola HBC Ireland and Northern Ireland continued to eliminate plastic shrink wrap from multi-packs, eliminating 500 tonnes of plastic
  3. Lidl optimised its Greek and flavoured 1kg yoghurt buckets, saving 30 tonnes of plastic
  4. Nomad Foods downgauged the film across all pizza products, eliminating 93 tonnes of plastic packaging 
  5. Tesco removed the handles on packs of Fred & Flo nappies, removing 36 tonnes of plastic 

Plastic Pledge Signatories to focus on five objectives:

Objective 1: To Prevent
Prioritise the prevention of plastic packaging waste by minimising avoidable single use packaging and promoting packaging reuse where possible, in line with Lidl and Aldi.

Objective 2: To Support
Support Ireland to deliver the Circular Economy Package plastic recycling targets of 50% of all plastic packaging by 2025 and 55% by 2030, as set by the European Commission. Aldi ensured 100% of its back of house plastic waste was recycled in 2022, with 625 tonnes of plastic recovered and recycled from back of house waste. 

Objective 3: To Simplify
Reduce complexity within the plastic packaging supply chain by simplifying polymer usage and eliminating non-recyclable components in all plastic packaging by 2030. Signatories have and are continuing to initiate projects to move from multi-layer to mono materials in line with this objective, which is particularly evident in the food and drinks sector. Coca Cola HBC Ireland and Northern Ireland began the roll-out of R100 100% recycled plastic film for multipack bottles across its Deep RiverRock portfolio, and actively seeks solutions to reduce and eliminate the non-recyclable plastic within its supply chain.

Objective 4: To Increase
Help to build a circular economy for used plastic packaging in Ireland and Europe by increasing the use of plastic packaging with a recycled content. Tesco continues to prioritise environmental impact, with a preferred material list which includes materials that are easily recycled and can be made from recycled content. 

Objective 5: To Reduce
Ensure our approach to plastic packaging reduction is aligned to Ireland’s goal of a 50% reduction in food waste by 2030 as set out in Ireland’s food waste charter. Nomad Foods ensures all packaging changes are tested to ensure shelf-life isn’t impacted and is part of the 10:20:30 project to reduce food waste.